Did you know that 1 in 3 women have some form of pelvic floor dysfunction? This can occur at any stage in life, starting as early as young athlete to pre and post-partum, as well as menopause. Pelvic floor dysfunction is not a normal consequence in life, and not something anyone has to live with. Pelvic floor physiotherapy can be extremely beneficial to manage various symptoms.

Do you experience any of the following symptoms?

  • Do you leak when you cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise?
  • Visit the bathroom more frequently than you used to?
  • Not always make it to the bathroom?
  • Have pain in the pelvic area, perineum and or tailbone that is affecting your quality of life?
  • Have genital / vaginal pain affecting your sex life?
  • Struggle with constipation / difficult bowel movements?
  • Have bulging / heaviness in the perineum?

At Bellefleur Physiotherapy, we offer internal and external assessment and treatment for many women’s and men’s pelvic health issues. During the assessment, we are looking at overall posture and alignment, and breathing strategies. This will tell us the strategies for using your inner (core) unit.

We offer a thorough one hour assessment in a private, comfortable and quiet room. We will first take a history of the area of concern, and then a physical assessment to determine a treatment plan individualized for your specific needs.

Pelvic floor physiotherapy requires an internal and external pelvic exam to assess and treat imbalances in the pelvic floor muscles.  Specifically tailored exercises are prescribed to treat pelvic floor muscles that are either too weak or too tight. Exercises to coordinate the pelvic floor muscles with the diaphragm and deep abdominal and back muscles are integrated, as part of a core retraining program. Clients are empowered to learn new strategies for posture and movement and to develop mindful body awareness, healthy bladder and bowel habits, and safe exercises.

Commonly treated conditions for both men and women include:

Urinary incontinence

There are 2 main types of incontinence. Stress Incontinence is leaking of urine when coughing, sneezing or laughing. Vigorous exercise such as gymnastics or Crossfit can also lead to leaking due to the over- recruitment of abdominal muscles and breath holding. If we are increasing intra-abdominal pressure, our muscles in the pelvic floor have to respond to the increased load and contract to not let any urine out. Urge incontinence is associated with a strong, uncontrollable need to void, with an inability to delay voiding. Mixed incontinence is a combination of both stress and urge incontinence. Other types of incontinence can include physical mobility issues getting to the washroom in time and frequent urination during the night.

Over active bladder

Increased urgency to urinate.


Having to urinate throughout the night.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when organs such as the bladder, cervix, or rectum descend into the vaginal canal. This can occur more commonly after a pregnancy, and into menopause. Research has shown that lower levels of estrogen can contribute to loss of muscle mass and lead to weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. Physiotherapy can effectively treat and even cure mild to moderate cases of pelvic organ prolapse without any form of surgery.

Pre and post-natal education and exercise

Pre and post-natal physiotherapy provides a continuum of care through the childbearing years. It includes prenatal screening for pregnancy-related orthopedic or pelvic floor problems, prenatal exercise, education for labor and delivery, post-natal education and exercise, and gradual progressive training for return to sports or other recreational activities. A strong emphasis is placed on optimizing the flexibility, coordination, tone, and strength of the muscles of the pelvis and abdominal unit, especially the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles.


Chronic constipation is frequently a cause of damage to the pelvic floor muscles and fascial support (ligaments). Chronic constipation can cause stretching of the pudendal nerve due to prolonged and repetitive straining (leading to pelvic floor weakness secondary to nerve damage). Constipation also creates more pressure on the bladder and urethra which may cause increased urinary frequency or retention.

Fecal incontincence

Fecal incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements, causing stool (feces) to leak unexpectedly from the rectum. Also called bowel incontinence, fecal incontinence ranges from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control. Common causes of fecal incontinence include diarrhea, constipation, and muscle or nerve damage. The muscle or nerve damage may be associated with aging or with giving birth.

Diastasis rectus abdominus

A Diastasis rectus abdominus is a separation in the rectus abdominis, also known as the “6-pack” muscle. It most often occurs during pregnancy. Sometimes it will spontaneously correct following birth, but it does not always.


Painful tail bone

Pelvic pain and abdominal weakness

There can be many reasons for experiencing pelvic pain from vulvodynia to dysmenorrhea (pain with menstrual periods) to pain with intercourse. There can be tightness or increased muscle tone in the pelvic floor muscles that may be contributing to pelvic pain. Internal manual therapy and breathing techniques can help release trigger points and stretch tight muscles, which can effectively treat these painful syndromes.


Bellefleur Physiotherapy offers patients in Ottawa exceptional care with a personalized treatment plan to suit your specific needs. If you are suffering from pain or have recently experienced an injury, our Ottawa Physiotherapists will ensure you get back to the activities you enjoy and love. Call us at (613) 424-7852 for an appointment today or email us at info@bellefleurphysio.com to book a consultation.

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